MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 21: Donald Driver #80 of the Green Bay Packers is brought down by Antonio Winfield #26 and Madieu Williams #20 of the Minnesota Vikings at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on November 21 2010 in Minneapolis Minnesota. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
It's been an unusual season for WR Donald Driver. While injuries have been a major story in the Green Bay Packers 2010 season, the fact that he's missed some practices and even one game due to an injury (quad) could be a major story in itself. According to Packers.com, his 133 consecutive games with a reception streak ended during their first win over the Vikings back in October, and the Cowboys game was the first time he's been out due to injury since 2003.
He's played in a couple game since he first got hurt. He had a drop in the home game against the Vikings, and it was clear he wasn't himself. He tried again the next week at the Jets, but he only managed to make the injury worse while trying to play through it. With the bye week, it made a lot of sense to sit out the Cowboys game and take a couple weeks off.
In his return last week against the Vikings in the Metrodome, it didn't look like he had a big game. He only had 4 catches for 31 yards, but he was targeted 7 times, the most for any receiver other than WR Greg Jennings. Four of those targets happened within the first 20 minutes of the game, when QB Aaron Rodgers was struggling to get into a rhythm. It seemed like Driver was his security blanket, the receiver he'd look for when he was in trouble. And it was clear that the Vikings still considered him a threat. As this photo showed, they had their top CB Antonio Winfield on him, while Jennings was able to go against the undynamic duo of CB Asher Allen and CB Chris Cook.
In his absence, the Packers have been working the ball down the field to Jennings and WR James Jones. In his first game back, he was only thrown to on some shorter routes. I don't know how they'll use him the rest of the season, but he might not be asked to run deep down the sidelines anymore. Either way, based on last week, he'll remain an important part of the offense.